Around 70 Japanese, mostly former members of the Self-Defense Forces, have answered the Ukrainian Embassy's since-deleted Twitter post soliciting volunteers to fight against invading Russian forces, an embassy official said Wednesday.
The embassy in Tokyo had posted the tweet on the same day that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on foreigners to be part of an international legion to be organized to help repel Russian forces.
Almost all Japanese who had applied as of Tuesday were men in their 20s to 60s. Their reasons for volunteering ranged from "not being able to forgive attacks on Ukraine by Russian forces" to "wanting to stop war as a Japanese," according to the official.
The recruitment post was deleted Wednesday, with the embassy now seeking volunteers to aid in such fields as medicine, disaster prevention, information technology and communications.
It is unclear why the post was deleted, but answering foreign military recruitment could run afoul of Japanese law against preparing or plotting to wage war privately on a foreign country.
When asked at a press conference about the recruitment by the Ukrainian Embassy on Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno requested Japanese nationals to refrain from traveling to Ukraine "regardless of purpose."
The government spokesman noted that the government has already issued an evacuation advisory for the whole of Ukraine, adding that it has also informed the embassy of the advisory.
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi also acknowledged to reporters on Tuesday that he was aware of the Twitter recruitment by the embassy and referred to the Foreign Ministry's evacuation advisory for Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Embassy said on Twitter that it had raised close to 2 billion yen ($17.4 million) in donations from more than 60,000 people in Japan as of Tuesday.
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